Thursday 12 July 2012

David Bailey's East End Exhibition

I want to see a photography exhibition by David Bailey yesterday, organised as part of the Create 2012 Festival of art in London.  The photo's covered a number of periods where the photographer had returned to East London where he grew up.

The photo's were a treat and my reaction to some of them surprised me.  I originally  thought the picture below used in promotional material was of two women at a local party.  It was only when I saw it in the context of the other pictures that a more complex picture began to form: gambling dens and the Kray twins (famous gangsters in East London in the 1960's), I realised there was more to these ladies than met the eye.

The era was also made more interesting by the number of people of colour captured in the photo's, part of the life of the nightclubs and dens.

This picture made me feel very uncomfortable, not sure why.  Maybe because you can't see his eyes, maybe its the booze.  But where as I didn't see anything untoward in the first picture above, for some reason this one felt a little sinister, although I don't think its meant to be.

Certainly, despite having grown up in East London, Bailey's photo's captured an East End that I did not recognise at all.

Pictures from the last era showed how much this part of the world had changed.  These included pictures of women in hijab and Green Street (below), certainly, places much more recognisable to me.

Certainly an exhibition that I enjoyed and which made me think.


  1. great pictures...i really enjoy candids, and these are stunning

  2. Looks like the East End is a much better place for the "old timers" having cleared off to south Essex and left it to the Muslims, alhamdu lillah.

  3. Anonymous18 July, 2012

    The above comment by Yusuf Smith is racist and offensive to the people who lived in the East End. If I said that an area was a much better place for muslims having moved out and been replaced by white people how would you feel? it is no different and neither do the gangsters depicted in these photos represent the original inhabitants of the East End.